Johns PAGE 1 Anne Johns Andrea Devenney ENG 101 MW 5:00 ? 6:15 October 23, 2009 3.2 Multiple Source Essay Introduction Self image is defined as the idea, conception, or mental image one has of oneself. Many would believe that they feel the way they do about themselves as a result of their own views on what a person should be. But, what if that isn?t it? What if it is the opposite? In Alice Walker?s ?Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self,? Carl Elliot?s ?Putting Your Best Face Forward,? Nancy Clark?s ?Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall? Are Muscular Men the Best of All?? the Dove company?s ?Evolution? commercial, Dove?s Real Beauty commercial, and Sonia Devine?s ?10 Steps To A Better Body Image,? we see how others manipulate our self image and what that leads too. One?s self image is often manipulated by the media, which can lead to depression, low self esteem, and underdevelopment of a person?s way of thinking about themselves. Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder Everyday millions of people look at themselves in a mirror adjusts their clothes, fix their hair, and then walk out the door hoping that someone will think that they look good that day. The media has led us to believe that unless your outfit perfectly matches, or every hair on your head is perfectly placed, then you are not beautiful. In Carl Elliot?s article, he discusses how our vain perception of beauty has infiltrated our late night entertainment. He speaks of a show called ?The Swan,? which is comprised of 18 ?ugly ducklings? who undergo cosmetic surgery to fix their ?flaws.? The catch of this show is that the women are not allowed to see their transformation until the night of the finale. Millions of Americans watched this show every week as the women who were not deemed beautiful, went through grueling medical procedures to become socially acceptable. Why would women put themselves through this? They do this because, as most people know, beauty can advance you further in life. This makes it so we look for the gratification of others to feel beautiful. Beauty is the modern day version of survival of the fittest. Alice Walker recalls how she knew as a young child that beauty could get you what you wanted. When her father had to pick which children would go with him to the fair, Walker yelled ??Take me, Daddy,? I say with assurance, ?I?m the prettiest!?? Her father picked her as one of the children to go, only reassuring her previous thought. This type of thought being rewarded does not help to develop a good thought process in a person. As children, we are often told how cute we are, but what happens when those compliments stop coming? Have we ever learned how to have confidence without those compliments? In Nancy Clark discusses how compliments can negatively impact men?s way of thinking. Men have self image issues just as women do. The main difference is that men try so hard to become bigger, just as women try hard to be thinner. Nancy Clark brings forward the underground feelings that men have about their bodies. Men see the movie stars who ?bulk-up? for a role on television and see how the women react to them. By seeing how much attention is given to these men who have the ?chiseled? abs, and the huge biceps and look at themselves in the mirror, where they do not see that. In a man?s mind, the more muscular they are, the more women they will get. This is not the case though. Clark brings up how in a survey, women say that they prefer a more average looking man. The media has warped many men?s views on what women find attractive. Many women would enjoy someone that they can have a nice conversation with, or can wrap their arms around. In many women?s fantasies, a huge bodybuilder type man who spends all their time in the gym isn?t in them. When the media constantly shows buff men with the words ?Hottest Bachelor? underneath them, men in the real world take note. Everyone wants to feel attractive and desired, but the media warps our views on what others find beautiful. Therefore, we don?t know how make ourselves feel good about the qualities that we already have. We either have to be bigger, stronger, and faster, or thinner, dumber, and completely fake. With this warped view, people often find themselves with low self esteem. Under Pressure On our morning drive to work, many see the billboard ads for the latest products. We see the women with the perfect long, flowing hair, next to a bottle of whatever shampoo they got hired to promote. Or we see the magazines at the stores with the thin models who have been named ?Sexiest Women of the Year.? As adults, we may look at these billboards and feel a little down about the way that we look, but we have enough going on in our lives that it may not be on our mind very long. With children on the other hand, they see these billboards or magazines and they begin to believe that that is what true beauty is. Children that age obviously look nothing like the models in these ads because they have not developed into full grown adults. Most people go through an awkward stage in their lives where they are developing at different rates. While going through this time many people do not see themselves as beautiful. Dove put out an ad which brought to the attention the insecurities many young girls have. In the ad we see many young girls who look like the average child. Next to each girl is an insecurity that they have. One hates her freckles, another, worries that she is fat, and another thinks that she is ugly. With the help of the song ?True Colors? the ad brings us to the realization that the over concern of what is beautiful is hurting our youth?s self image. With the lyrics ?It's hard to take courage in a world full of people, you can lose sight of it all, and the darkness inside you, can make you feel so small,? we can begin to relate to these children. In this world, there are many different people and we can often feel insignificant. Many people do not worry about if they are beautiful enough to stand out though; they worry more about having a flaw that will make them stand out. Alice Walker had to deal with going from a positive self image to a negative self image when she began standing out for a physical feature that she was embarrassed about. When she was a child, Walker was shot in the eye with a BB, which left her blind in that eye. She used to be such an outgoing, confident child, and then she became a quiet, insecure, argumentative child. She asked her mom if she had changed after the accident. Her mom just simply stated ?You did not change.? Walker felt how she had changed, and how she needed someone to reinforce her, but no one saw her pain. Her low self esteem had completely changed the happy-go-lucky girl that everyone knew, to someone completely different. Low self-esteem can lead to many negative causes, but depression may be the worst of them. Standing in the Dark Depression is effecting more and more teens each year. Suicide is the number 3 killer of Americans ages 15-24 according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Depression does not only lead to suicide though, it can lead to other decisions that may be regretted in the future. Clark brings up the rising popularity of steroids with men. If teenage men do not feel good about their bodies, they will find anyway to fix it. Steroids can lead to ?roid rage,? which can in turn lead to decisions made out of anger. In June 2007, wrestler Chris Benoit murdered his wife and his son before ultimately hanging himself. Benoit was found to have steroids and anti-anxiety medication in his system during the autopsy. It has been said that Benoit idealized the 1980s wrestler Dynamite Kid who was played by Tom Billington. Benoit watched him on TV and saw how he looked, and what he was able to do. Billington was 225 lbs of tight muscle. Muscle, which was a result from the steroids he was using. Every wrestler was big, that?s the wrestlers that they pick to be on TV. When asked about Benoit?s steroid use he said, "It can make you aggressive, the steroids. But personally I wouldn't, you know, kill no bleeding kid, or wife either."(CNN.com) Benoit was said to be suffering from depression. With the combination of the steroids and the anti-anxiety medication, Benoit went into a rage which resulted in the murder of his wife and child. Murder is at the extreme of what depression can lead to, but it can also lead feeling helpless, useless, and like you are drowning. Having depression resulting from poor self image can prevent you from having the confidence to do everyday activities. Something as simple as saying ?Hi? to people can make you feel unworthy of people?s attention. Alice Walker recalls never looking up when people spoke to her. This was not because she was rude, but because she didn?t want people to see her eye. She was once a very confident little girl who thought she was beautiful and was always looking up with awareness. After the accident, she bean to feel terrible about herself, and therefore began doing worse in school and social situations. She recalls ?I am eight, and for the first time, doing poorly in school, where I have been something of a whiz since I was four.? Having a low self image doesn?t just make you worry about how you look; it makes you worry about everything that you are doing. The depression that people often get makes them feel as if they are screaming but no one can The media tells us that if you are not wearing the right clothing, or your hair isn?t a certain way, then you look ?trashy.? But not everything the media shows us is the truth, sometimes it is changed to show us how we ?should? be. The media uses technology to change real beauty into what they believe it should be. In the Dove created a commercial in which they started off with a normal looking woman. There is nothing really that different about her. She is not wearing any makeup, her hair is not done up, and she is not wearing anything that particularly special. As the commercial progresses we see her get her makeup and hair done and pictures taken of her. The woman looks pretty but that isn?t enough. We see how with Photoshop, the pictures of the average looking woman are altered to look like a completely different woman. The eyes, lips, neck are all changed. The woman at the end of the commercial looks completely different and like a lot of the women we see in ads today. Our perception of beauty is off because what we are seeing as real beauty isn?t real at all. Pictures, like the ones seen at the end of this ad, are exactly what make people feel bad about themselves. We are given a standard of beauty that we can not reach. By not reaching this standard many feel as if they are not good enough and that no one will ever find themselves beautiful, which leads to depression. But it doesn?t have to be this way. Conclusion The media often manipulates one?s self image. This can lead to depression, low self esteem, and not allowing us to learn how to appreciate ourselves. Sonia Devine says ?The way you see yourself has a great impact on your happiness.? With tips like ?Throw away glossy magazines, put away your scales, cut down mirror-checking, stop comparing yourself to others, and focus on your strengths,? we can create our own idea of beauty, not the one that is shoved down our throats. The media gives us standards of beauty we will never meet. This makes us feel as if we are not beautiful or special, but that is not true. Everyone is different and should embrace their differences. As Cyndi Lauper sang, ?So don't be afraid to let them show. Your true colors, true colors, are beautiful like a rainbow.?
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